Yasser Saeed Al-Qahtani was born October 10, 1982. His start was with the “Stars of Al-Aqrabiah” before joining the “Lotto” team for closed lounges, participated in several sessions held during Ramadan months in Al-Itifaq and Al-Qadisiyah, and was featured prominently in the Aramco course that was held in Dhahran. Thereafter, offers started to come to him from the Eastern Province clubs with Al-Itifaq and Al-Qadisiyah clubs as the most prominent.
Al-Qahtani joined Al-Itifaq and underwent a technical experiment under the supervision of Saudi coach Faisal Al-Badin for a week. The coach was convinced of his level, and the club’s management offered him an amount not exceeding SAR 30,000. However, the amount did not satisfy his ambition. The difference that occurred led to the opening of the door for Al-Qadisiyah club to intervene and turn Al-Qahtani’s path to his way. He went to Al-Qadisiyah and had gone through a technical experiment that made the club’s officials believe in his talent and skills, especially Brazilian coach Cabral, who ordered his registration and paid him SAR 50,000.
He started with Al-Qadisiyah as a substitute and could not play much as a starter. In the 2000/2001 season, Al- Qadisiyah was among the first division teams. His first concern was to climb to the Premier League which he indeed achieved. As a striker, Yasser Al-Qahtani led his team to the Premier League and was the top scorer when he did not exceed 21 years. After that Al-Qahtani joined the Olympic team, and his first participation was in the International Friendship Tournament in Abha.
Yasser was able to prove himself to everyone. The Dutch coach of the Saudi national team, Gerard Vanderlem, included him in the first team participating in the Arab Cup, which was his first participation with them. He scored two goals against the Yemeni team, and contributed to the team’s victory in this tournament’s cup. Al-Qahtani stated at the time: “I am satisfied with what I have provided in our national team’s matches in this tournament. Although I still have many, many to come and I assure that what I have provided would not have been achieved without the support and cooperation that I found from all my colleagues and the administrative and technical apparatus.”
Al-Qahtani shone remarkably with Al-Qadisiyah which led him to the golden square in the Saudi League in his first season and was able to reserve a place in the attack of the Saudi team. Al-Ahli, therefore, decided to offer him a contract. Al-Ittihad also made an offer but his brother stated at that time that the board rejected Al-Ahli’s offer on the pretext that the Al-Ittihad offer was better, and then the news of his transfer faded.
The 16th Gulf Cup events were held in Kuwait. Yasser Al-Qahtani scored a goal against the Bahrain national team. In the middle of the season, with an increase in his brilliance, whether at the level of Al-Qadisiyah or the national team, Al-Ittihad and Al-Hilal entered strongly to win his services. Al-Qahtani became one of the issues of the Saudi sports season. The two clubs made two offers to sign Al-Qadisiyah. Al-Ittihad’s offer was stronger and better than Al-Hilal, but Yasser Al-Qahtani’s desire was stronger as he declared his love for Al-Hilal and his preference for them. The deal was settled with the loan system which ended with the official transfer. Al-Hilal began its formal negotiations by dispatching the honorary member Prince Bandar bin Muhammad to Al-Qadisiyah. They met with the administration for a period of three hours without the two parties reaching an agreement. Al-Hilal made an offer of SAR 20 million after Al-Qahtani gave up SAR 1 million, However, Al-Qadisiyah administration insisted that Al-Hilal pay SAR 25 million. Negotiations stopped and communications began between active members in the two clubs to bring views together until it was agreed that Al-Hilal would pay SAR 20 million, after Al-Qahtani also gave up SAR 2 million. For his share and appreciation from Al-Hilal for the player’s position, they raised the value of the deal to SAR 22.5 million. However, Al-Qadisiyah administration, through the chief of honorary members Ahmed Al-Zamil, added a new condition that it obtains 25% of Al-Hilal’s share in any external offer received for the player which was rejected by Al-Hilal.
Faced with these developments, Al-Qahtani decided to hold a press conference in which he announced that he had waived 25% of his share in any foreign offer to Al-Qadisiyah club, and confirmed that he would only move to Al-Hilal and would not consider any other offers.
Al-Qahtani received an offer from Manchester City in 2007. It was a field experience at the request of the President of Al-Hilal Club. However, Abdullah Nasser refused the offer. The point of disagreement that thwarted the negotiations was the club’s request to have the right to market Yasser Al-Qahtani by 80% in addition to changing his manager, which was the reason why the player refused the offer and returned to Saudi Arabia.
In 2011, about a month before the start of the Saudi League season, he moved to Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates, on a one-season loan deal for a huge amount of nearly EUR 2.5 million. The purpose of the transfer was to return Al-Qahtani to his usual level after the media and public pressure he faced.
On April 13, 2018, Al-Qahtani, through his personal account on Twitter and Instagram, posted a clip in which he appeared leaving his shirt and the emblem of leadership to announce the end of his football career with Al-Hilal. Thereafter, the official account of Al-Hilal club confirmed the news in a tweet in which he wrote, “Thanks for everything… Goodbye, Captain”.
Honorable International Journey
Al-Qahtani’s first international participation was in the Saudi match against Bahrain on December 17, 2002. The Saudi team won two goals to one. In the eighth Arab Cup 2002, Yasser scored two goals and Al-Akhdar Saudi Arabia achieved that tournament in where Yasser Al-Qahtani emerged by scoring against the Yemeni national team. In the 2003’s Gulf Cup tournament, Yasser scored three goals and contributed to achieving the championship by scoring one goal against Oman and two goals against Yemen.
In the qualifying stage for the 2004 AFC Asian Cup, he scored a goal against Bhutan and participated in the qualification of the Saudi team for the Asian Cup 2004. In addition to that, Al-Qahtani participated in the Asian Cup in China, and scored two goals against Turkmenistan, but the Saudi team presented a modest level as they stopped in the first round and got the third position .
Al-Qahtani participated in the 2005 First Islamic Games Cup 2005 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Western Region Jeddah, Taif, Medina. The Saudi team was crowned champion of the tournament. Yasser scored two goals in the tournament, one against Algeria and the other against Morocco. In the 2006 World Cup qualifiers for Asia, Yasser scored twice, against Indonesia and against South Korea, and contributed to the Saudi team’s qualification for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Yasser scored a goal against Tunisia and participated in qualifying for the 2006 World Cup finals and ranked among the most beautiful goals scored in that tournament.
In qualifying for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, he scored four goals – three against India and one against Japan – and contributed strongly to the Saudi team’s qualification for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. He scored four goals in that tournament against South Korea, Indonesia, Uzbekistan and Japan.
At the beginning of Al-Qahtani’s participation with the Saudi national team in 2007, he received the captaincy. The Saudi team reached the final match and Yasser Al-Qahtani had a great role in leading Al-Akhdar. They lost to Iraq in the final match, but Al-Qahtani won the 2007 AFC Asian Cup top scorer title with four goals.
In the 2007 Gulf Cup, Yasser scored three goals (two goals against Bahrain, and one against Iraq) and contributed to the Saudi team’s qualification for the semi-finals of the tournament, but they went out against the UAE national team in the semi-finals.
In the 11th Arab Games 2007, he scored only one goal against Egypt, and contributed to the team’s achieving third place in that tournament.
In the 19th Gulf Cup 2009 in the Sultanate of Oman, Yasser scored two goals, against Yemen and the Emirates. The Saudi team reached the final match and Yasser Al-Qahtani participated in front of the Oman national team. It ended with the victory of the Oman team in a penalty shootout (6-5) after the two teams tied in the original and additional match time. Yasser Al-Qahtani scored one goal in the penalty shootout.
In the World Cup qualifiers in South Africa 2010, Al-Qahtani scored three goals – against Singapore in the first round and two goals in the third round against Syria. The Saudi team did not succeed in qualifying for the finals, after a (2-2) draw against Bahrain in the second leg of the Asian qualifiers for the World Cup. In the 2013 Arabian Gulf Cup, Saudi coach Frank Rijkaard called Yasser Al-Qahtani after he had previously announced his retirement from international football, as he was the captain of the team and participated in the first match against the Iraqi team. Al-Qahtani did not score in that match but scored in the second match against the Yemeni national team, and did not score in the third match against Kuwait.
Al-Qahtani achieved with Al-Qadisiyah the 2002 First League shield, the 2005 Saudi Crown Prince Cup runner-up, and with Al-Hilal the Saudi Professional League five times 2007-08, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2016-17, 2017-18.
With Al Hilal, he also won the Saudi Crown Prince Cup seven times: 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup twice: 2015 and 2017, the 2015 Saudi Super Cup, the Saudi Federation Cup 2006, and the 2014 AFC Champions League runner up 2014 and 2017.
With Al-Ain UAE, he won the UAE League 2011-12, and with Al-Akhdar Saudi Arabia, he achieved the second place of the 2007 Asian Cup, the 2002 Arab Cup, the 2003 Arabian Gulf Cup, participation in the 2006 World Cup, and winning the first Islamic Solidarity Games 2005.
On the individual level, Al-Qahtani achieved the award for the best player in Asia in 2007, the top goal scorer of the 2007 Asian Cup with four goals, the best scorer in the world from the International Federation for History and Statistics (sixth in 2007), and the second most popular Asian player from the International Federation for History and Statistics in 2007, and the best goal for the month of February 2010 from the AFC (his second goal in Al-Sadd Al-Qatar),
He came as the fifth most popular player in the world in Asia from the International Federation for History and Statistics in 2010, the first as the most popular player in the world in Asia from the International Federation for History and Statistics in 2009, the best player in the Saudi and UAE national team match in the Arab Gulf Cup 2009, and the ninth most popular player in the world from the International Federation for History and Statistics in 2008, as well as the Sports Award and Mobily for Sports Excellence as the best player for the year 2008, the Muftaha Award as the best player for the year 2007, the Sports Award and Mobily for Sports Excellence as the best player (second place) for the year 2007, and the 35th place in the list of scorers of the decade 2012.
The end of the career
Al-Qahtani took the decision to retire and agreed with his club’s board of directors to hold the retirement ceremony, facing Al-Hilal and Barcelona at King Saud University Stadium, and Turki Al-Sheikh, Chairman of the Sports Council, who sponsored the cost of the ceremony. However, the retirement ceremony was not held as scheduled in December 2018. After Turki Al-Sheikh was appointed Minister of the Entertainment Authority, he stated in a conference that he was still up to his promise to hold a ceremony for Yasser Al-Qahtani’s retirement, with the permission of the Minister of the Public Authority for Sports, Prince Abdulaziz Al-Faisal, and in coordination between the two bodies with an international team and a party befitting what Yasser presented to Saudi football.
The retirement ceremony was held on the 1st of December 2019 at King Saud University Stadium with the participation of a number of world football stars, with the friends of Yasser Al-Qahtani (Y20) team against Al-Hilal Saudi Club, which also included a group of former Saudi football stars. The match ended with Al-Hilal winning 5-4. On that busy evening, Yasser Al-Qahtani was honored for his sports career.